Primary health care is the first point of contact Albertans have with the health care system, and includes health professionals such as family doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.
Last fall, health care leaders, Indigenous partners and experts from across Canada and around the world came together to form advisory panels as part of the Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Health Care System (MAPS) initiative. The panels identified immediate, medium- and long-term improvements to strengthen Alberta’s primary health care system.
Alberta’s government will begin moving forward on the recommendations in the final report to improve access to primary health care for all Albertans. The recommendations will be implemented through a phased approach, with several moving forward immediately, followed by medium- and longer-term improvements that will enhance community-based primary health care across Alberta.
“Today marks an important step in the work I am undertaking to enhance primary care as the foundation of our health care system. The Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Health Care System (MAPS) reports clearly identify the challenges our system is facing, and their release signals this government’s commitment to take immediate and ongoing action to support and stabilize primary health care in our province. I look forward to the ongoing work of implementing needed changes with our health care partners and providers.”Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health
Several immediate actions are being taken, all of which are consistent with recommendations from the panels. These actions are critical to ensuring Albertans have better access to health care when and where they need it. Alberta Health continues to work toward implementing recommendations over the medium and long term.
“The MAPS recommendations represent a huge leap forward for our primary health system – strengthening and clarifying governance, community involvement, and recognizing the importance of integrated team-based care that allows Albertans to access primary care from the most appropriate team member at the right time, in the right place. This is how we can ensure equitable access to care across our province.”Dr. Janet Reynolds, co-chair, MAPS strategic advisory panel
Alberta’s government is acting immediately on recommendations to improve primary health care and increase Albertans’ access to the medical care they need, including:
“We know that a strong primary health care system is foundational for better health care for Albertans, and that starts with access to a family physician and a team of dedicated providers. Primary care requires dedicated planning, resourcing and coordination. We are pleased to join the task force and believe continued collaboration and immediate action will bring us closer to our collective vision.”Dr. Noel DaCunha, president, Alberta College of Family Physicians
“The Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta is elated to see the newly released MAPs report, which provides direction for primary care reform and includes the full integration of nurse practitioners. The Government of Alberta is taking a significant and essential step in improving access to primary care for Albertans. This announcement is a win-win for Albertans and nurse practitioners, as it recognizes the valuable contributions of NPs delivering high-quality care for Albertans and their ability to decrease the stress on the health care system. We are excited about the future of primary care in Alberta.”Dr. Susan Prendergast, president, Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta
“These actions are welcome news for rural Alberta. Ensuring Albertans have access to health care professionals when and where they need it is essential. This work will help to solve some of the unique challenges for rural Albertans by encouraging health professions to practise in rural parts of the province.”Martin Long, parliamentary secretary for rural health
Indigenous Peoples face many barriers to access appropriate health care. To support better health outcomes, the government will build more meaningful connections with Indigenous leaders and communities to identify improvements that reflect the unique nature of their communities. Immediate actions include:
“It is unacceptable that Indigenous Peoples continue to face so many barriers when accessing primary health care. It is crucial that all First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples have equitable access to community-based primary health care that is culturally safe, respects their unique needs and is free of racism. These immediate actions will help us achieve that goal.” Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations
“The panel’s recommendations provide a clear and stable pathway to create a safe, culturally appropriate primary health care system that includes Indigenous people as partners and leaders at every stage of the development, governance and delivery of health care services. The best solutions exist within our respective communities, tailored for our unique needs and priorities. The commitments made today are an important first step toward improving health equity for Indigenous Peoples, regardless of where they live in Alberta.”Naa Taoyi Piita Wo Taan, Dr. Tyler White, CEO, Siksika Health Services and co-chair, MAPS Indigenous Primary Health Care Advisory Panel
Many thanks to everyone who was able to join for our 2023 Turkey Trot, and congratulations to our winners!
Monday, October 2, 2023, Isadore Day visited Siksika Nation to share learnings and partnership opportunities with Siksika Health Services.
Former Ontario Regional Chief, Isadore Day, is the Founder + CEO of Bimaadzwin, which means “life” or “good path” in Anishinaabe. Bimaadzwin exists to advance First Nations by supporting our people to create and develop happy, healthy communities through economic development that focuses on First Nation jurisdiction. Isadore Day, and Bimaadzwin believe that our health comes from the wealth of our lands, because we are the land.
Isadore Day and his partner, Michelle travelled from Ontario, and met with Siksika Health Services representatives to discuss potential partnership opportunities for the health and wellbeing of Siksika Nation. Only the start of this conversation, followup meetings will be scheduled to further discuss and outline this collaboration. Thus far, Bimaadzwin and Siksika Health Services have collaborated on the Pathways diabetic foot ulcer prevention program, which is currently benefitting our Siksika Nation members living with type 2 diabetes.
Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, is an Anishinaabe from Serpent River First Nation. He is of the Genozhe ndodem (Northern Pike Clan). He brings many years of political and policy expertise. A former Regional Chief of Ontario, Lake Huron Region Grand Chief and Vice Chair of the North Shore Tribal Council, he has served 15 years as an elected leader for First Nations and has handled various high-level policy files. He is hereditary to Chief Shingwauk, Wiindawtegowinini and Genebek, who signed the Robinson-Huron Treaty and the Manitoulin Treaty and were allies to the British Crown in the War of 1812.
Chief Day has been involved in various boards and committees; at both regional and national levels over the past two decades while remaining a strong grassroots visionary. With a background in Social Sciences, Business, Public Administration and Governance – he is a firm believer that education that is culturally rooted and is bridged into mainstream disciplines is essential to success. His most noted accomplishment was repatriating First Nation children back to his First Nation from mainstream foster care systems. He has been an energy policy leader, community developer and a tireless advocate for First Nation treaty rights.
Isadore Day’s main focus is on Nationhood rights and Sovereignty; and specifically, the improvement in First Nation health, social, economy conditions of current and future generations. Isadore is emphatic that the Indian Act is colonial oppression and at the root of what must change in all First Nations – he vows to maintain and refine his life’s mission to be focused on reconstituting Indigenous Nations on Turtle Island.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
SIKSIKA NATION, Alberta, June 6, 2023 – Siksika Health Services (SHS), in collaboration with Orpyx® Medical Technologies and GMAK Consulting, is excited to announce the launch of a second pilot program aimed at improving foot health and preventing diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) among Siksika Nation members living with type 2 diabetes.
Zivot Limb Preservation Centre (ZLPC) has joined this initiative for this second pilot program and will provide clinical services. Their expertise and collaboration with SHS will provide invaluable lower-limb educational opportunities for SHS dedicated staff.
With the success of the initial pilot program, which involved 35 Siksika members, the partnership is eager to expand its efforts and conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness of integrating Orpyx SI® Flex Sensory Insoles and remote patient monitoring (RPM) at scale within the community.
In general, ~25% of people with diabetes will develop a DFU in their lifetime, with 49% DFU recurrence in the first year. During the initial 24-week pilot, only one participant with a long history of recurrent DFUs developed a new wound. The Orpyx SI program allowed for early and timely escalation to the ZLPC for assessment and treatment, effectively mitigating more severe complications. The low DFU occurrence rate during the initial pilot is a positive step in implementing a broader wound and amputation prevention program.
Acknowledging the complexities of managing diabetes, SHS remains committed to equipping Nation members with valuable resources to learn and implement best practices.
“We’re excited by the opportunity, and also the possibility for this to have a meaningful and important impact on our people’s health. It’s important that we have these types of advanced services, that we have partnerships that are like-minded, that have the same vision, and the same purpose as we move forward together.”
Dr. Tyler White, CEO, Siksika Health Services
An integral component of the pilot program has been the organization of in-person community gatherings on Siksika Nation, which serve as a platform for providing culturally appropriate support to participants. One participant shared the significance of these gatherings, saying, “It’s a very good program, you learn a lot, and can ask questions about what you’re stuck on, maintaining your health. This program is helping a lot, for me and others I’ve talked to.” With the combined efforts of SHS Home Care, Orpyx, GMAK and the ZLPC, participants benefit from on-the-ground support, advanced data monitoring, and access to expertise in diabetic foot management.
The pilot program is made possible through the generous support of PATHWAYS Indigenous Health Collaborations, a partnership between Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. and Bimaadzwin, who work together to bring about positive change and advancements in Indigenous healthcare.
“I am immensely proud to announce the expansion of our partnership with Siksika Health Services, a collaboration that has already shown promising results in providing supportive remote care and improving foot health within Siksika Nation. Our initial pilot has showcased the tremendous potential for improving the lives of individuals facing the unique challenges of living with diabetes. By joining forces with SHS, we have worked together to gain invaluable insights, enabling us to tailor our solutions even more effectively to the needs of Siksika members. This partnership exemplifies the power of collaborative, human-centered innovation, and we are excited to see where we can take this with the next phase of the program.”
Dr. Breanne Everett, CEO and Founder of Orpyx
Expanding the pilot program will give more community members access to state-of-the-art technology to significantly enhance their well-being. Together, we are dedicated to supporting more communities and First Nations in addressing their healthcare needs and improving access to quality care.
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For more information:
Ryan Running Rabbit
Communications, Siksika Health Services
Marketing, Orpyx Medical Technologies
National MMIWG2S Awareness Day, also known as Red Dress Day, which occurs annually on May 5th, honours the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two spirit, and gender diverse people in Canada by encouraging learning and building awareness to end violence against Indigenous women, girls, two spirit, and gender diverse people.
Call to Action 41 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report called on the federal government of Canada to begin an inquiry into the numerous cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
The National Inquiry released its Final Report in June 2019 and addressed finding important ways to end the genocide and to transform systemic and society values that have worked to maintain colonial violence (Final Report, volume 1B, p. 168).
Our community of Siksika has much work to do in addressing the violence committed upon our people and to develop a plan that will include the awareness of our society values. Strengthening our community in healing from our past, changing our ways today and moving forward to a healthy atmosphere are goals we all must take on. Let us take a stand collectively to make a change in our community for the sake of our people’s safety and wellness. Our youth and the unborn deserve a chance to live in a healthy world to practice our traditional way of life and all that it offers.